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Ravenous

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Ravenous

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle
Director: Antonia Bird
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Suspense


*Also starring: Jeffrey Jones, Jeremy Davies, David Arquette, Stephen Spinella, John Spencer, Neal McDonough



Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

Antonia Bird's RAVENOUS argues convincingly for vegetarianism. Bird, reportedly a vegetarian herself, creates a relentless, gothic horror tale of cannibalism set in the old west of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains.

Capt. John Boyd, played by Guy Pearce from L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, is a coward and an accidental war hero from the Mexican-American War of 1847. He is assigned to a remote "fort," where he and 7 others live in squalor like barbarians. They all act like they've been smoking too much of the local weed.

One day a nearly dead Scotsman named Colqhoun, played with great gusto by Robert Carlyle from THE FULL MONTY, stumbles into their remote outpost and relates a story that shocks everyone. A dead-ringer for Charles Manson, he claims to have been part of a party of 6 settlers whose covered wagons got trapped in the winter snows after they took a "shortcut." Starving, they ate their animals, their leather and then each other. He says that a few are still alive, so the fort's inhabitants go to rescue them. The Native-American in the group warns presciently about a legend that those who have tasted human flesh are made stronger and must have more.

What with the flashbacks and the violence in the present, your stomach will quickly be tested. Most of the film is little more than an adult version of a teen slasher flick, but some of the staging is imaginative. When trapped, one of the characters jumps off of a high cliff knowing full well that only the tree limbs far down below can break his fall.

Anthony B. Richmond's cinematography gives the picture a sharp and handsomely startling look. Michael Nyman's quirky music does its best to transform the gruesome drama into a black comedy.

If you go, whatever you do, don't stand near the exits. If you do, you will be in danger of being crushed by walkouts who are heading for the bathrooms. And if you are crushed to death, consider what might be your fate when those who like the movie see you dead on the floor. It's not a pretty picture.

RAVENOUS runs 1:40. It is rated R for considerable gore, strong violence and brief nudity and would be acceptable only for older teenagers.

Copyright 1999 Steve Rhodes

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